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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas with Catherine Ndereba 2009

Christmastime is a very important time for Catherine as she looks forward to spending time with her family. With such a large family and each member having many different responsibilities, it is very difficult to arrange for all 9 siblings along with their families to find time to be in one place as I learned while in Kenya trying to film them all together. And that is just referring to Catherine’s side of the family. Add to that Anthony’s side as well as the families of husbands and wives and you can see how difficult it is. Now factor in the roads and the travel time and it becomes even more of a challenge. Even so, it is a time when Catherine tries as hard as she can to bring as much of the family together as possible.

This year, however, will be entirely different. Catherine will not be spending Christmas with her parents or her siblings. She will not even be able to spend it with her daughter, Jane who will spend the holiday with Anthony’s parents. Catherine will spend Christmas day fulfilling a responsibility that comes with her appointment to NOC-K; National Olympic Committee of Kenya. The timing could not be worse but Catherine is a woman of integrity and she will honor her duty to the committee because that is the way she is. Even on the most holy of days, she will do what is required of her. You’re probably wondering what could be so important as to make her miss spending Christmas with her family. Well, as it turns out, it is quite important. Whether or not it is important enough to take anyone away from their family on Christmas is not my call.

On Christmas day, Catherine, along with other members of NOC-K, will be at the airport in Nairobi to receive the Queen’s Baton to continue the Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 leading up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Upon researching this journey, I’ve learned that it is very similar to the relay of the Olympic Torch. The Queen’s Baton Relay starts at BuckinghamPalace in London and is presented by the Queen to the carriers of the first leg of the relay. The baton carries a message from the Queen to the host country of the Commonwealth Games.  This year The Relay began on October 29, 2009 and The Baton will pass through all 71 countries that participate in the Games before arriving at the site of the 2010 Games on June 25 in Delhi, India. The members of NOC-K receive the baton on Christmas day, and on Boxing Day take it to Mombassa where they will present it to the President of Kenya. The baton will arrive from Camaroon and from Kenya will head to Tanzania. The route The Baton takes is pretty amazing and you can actually follow it at this website: Queen's Baton Relay  In addition to being able to view the route it takes, there is a small camera mounted in the end of The Baton and you can view actual video of the journey!

So it seems like this is a mixed blessing; it is very unfortunate that The Baton arrives in Kenya on a day that is so important to Catherine and many others, but it is also an honor to have been selected as a member of the Kenyan Olympic Committee and is also an honor to be part of the team that will carry this baton to its next destination. Catherine hopes to be able to spend some time with her family and parents before the New Year and before her daughter, Jane has to go back to school and Anthony resumes his evening school. I, too, hope she is able to get that time; she deserves it.

A rare occasion 5/29/2009 when 5 of the Ndereba siblings were together
pictured here (L-R):
Cyrus Ndereba, Anastasia Ndereba, Carolyn Ndereba, Esther Ndereba

4 of the 5 Ndereba sisters at the Prison's Championships 5/29/2009 Nairobi
pictured L-R: friend and athlete Jane Murage joins
Esther Ndereba, Caroline Ndereba, Catherine Ndereba, Anastasia Ndereba holding daughter Ruth


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More info on the football tournament sponsored by Catherine Ndereba

Catherine Ndereba & husband Anthony Muhia Maina during a vist to Karatina, Central Province Kenya
I was curious about this event that Catherine is sponsoring so I asked her about it. She provides uniforms and balls for the players. But I wanted to know even more so I spoke with her husband, Anthony, about it because he is one of the organizers. This is not the first year they have been involved with this tournament. The first year was three years ago but there was no tournament last year due to a tragedy; the man who was the on site organizer and coordinator was struck by a car and killed. Therefore the tournament was not held. This year Anthony is heavily involved in the organizing. I wanted to know why he and Catherine were involved with football. This is what Anthony had to say:
"The soccer tourny is all about bringing the youth together and encourage them to be involved in active livelihood. In Kenya today we are faced with stiff challenges of unemployment and therefore the young guys get involved in risky behavior. One of the ways of keeping them active both mentally and physically is through sports and that's why the tourny. The tourny will be done in play offs and the semis will be done on 27th Dec and Finals on the 3rd Jan 2010 at Miiri primary school.(Not very far from my parents place)"
I was not surprised when I heard his answer; whether it is running, football (soccer), basketball or baseball, involving young people in sports is so instrumental in keeping them out of trouble. It is not unlike in the United States where involving children and young adults helps keep them from joining gangs and going down the wrong path. I recalled an incident in Kenya, (in the same area where this football tournament will be held), back in April just before my crew and I arrived in Kenya for filming with Catherine.  I'd heard that there was a clash near where Anthony grew up, and his parents still live, involving the Mungiki sect, known as Kenya's version of the Mafia. I was horrified and even worried whether or not it would be safe to travel there. You can read about the Mathira Massacre as it is known here: Mathira Massacre  It is exactly this type of group that Catherine and Anthony hope to help young men avoid by involving them in sports.When young people have enough to fill their time they are less likely to go out looking for things to do which often results in poor choices being made!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Catherine Ndereba to Sponsor Football Tournament

Catherine will be sponsoring a football tournament in Mathira East at the end of December. Please check back for more information coming soon!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

WinCatherine Fundraising Trailer on the Big Screen!

WinCatherine: The Story of Wincatherine Nyambura Ndereba will  have its first big screen event this Thursday December 10th at The Ambler Theater Open Screen Night in Ambler, PA. It is only the fundraising trailer but it will still be exciting to see it in a real theater!

Here is what the theater says:

"The Ambler Theater is proud to support independent filmmakers in their quest to achieve recognition for their valuable contribution to our culture.
Each film will be briefly discussed by the audience and/or your peers."

I don't know how many films will be screened but each is limited to 10 minutes. 

I hope people show up! Unfortunately, I just found out about the open night yesterday and learned today that they will screen WinCatherine.  It will be a great experience!

For those able to attend:
The Ambler Theater
108 E. Butler Avenue
Ambler, PA  19002

Monday, December 7, 2009

Putting things into perspective

Just a short post today; I really enjoyed this article from The Standard. No disrespect to Usain Bolt but I think the writer, Ted Malanda, makes a very good point here (click here)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Speaking Out

I spoke with Catherine on Monday after she returned home from Nyeri and I asked her how the half marathon went. She said it went well but that she was very disappointed that the turnout this year was much smaller than in years past. She noted that there were several other races too close to this one which prevented many athletes from competing there. She was interviewed after the race and she called on AK (Athletics Kenya, the governing body for track and field in Kenya) to do something about spreading out the events so they don't occur so close to one another. I don't know that she expected the reply that came from AK head Isiah Kiplagat today (read article). I will be sure to ask her thoughts on that the next time I speak with her! I can't wait to see the footage our crew filmed there!

You can see some of her television interview here: (love her new hairdo!) Catherine Ndereba @ Nyeri Half Marathon